Interface Fantasy: A Lacanian Cyborg Ontology (Short - download pdf or read online

By André Nusselder

ISBN-10: 0262513005

ISBN-13: 9780262513005

At the back of our computing device monitors we're all cyborgs: via myth we will comprehend our involvement in digital worlds.

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This vision strongly opposes the commonsense view—which is not very common among theoreticians—that technology is a neutral instrument that we can use for all sorts of different goals. This does not mean that the major current in the philosophy of technology is the substantialist one, quite the opposite. New, mostly American philosophers of technology support the view that technology is a (social) construction. The British thinkers Thomas Hughes and Trevor Pinch, working with their Dutch colleague Wiebe Bijker, laid the foundations of social constructivist theories in The Social Construction of Technological Systems (1987).

They represent something of the inaccessible real—just as a dream character may represent, partially, a repressed truth. Lacan therefore describes the Freudian process of condensation as a metaphorical process (Lacan 1998b, p. 247). By means (or media) of association and composition, there arises a representation of something that does not exist as such. The metaphor is therefore always a substitution: it substitutes a “real presence” that is impossible. And the computer deals with this impossible real, as a machine that can present photorealistic representations of impossible, nonexisting worlds and phenomena (Darley 2000).

For Kant, the human subject positions the (sensible) impressions of objects in the dimensions of space and time by means of the (transcendental) imagination, just as a television screen synthesizes electronic pulses and displays them as a coherent picture in time and space. As channels of imagination, the interfaces also function in this manner, similar to Lacan’s understanding of fantasy—an issue I will address extensively further on in this book (particularly chapter 4). For Lacan, fantasy, or the imaginary order, both synthesizes the manifold stimuli originating in internal and external reality “into a number of preformed frameworks,” and anticipates an ideal unity.

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Interface Fantasy: A Lacanian Cyborg Ontology (Short Circuits) by André Nusselder


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